Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Can't Get the Scale to Budge Anymore?

I always say that the body is like a machine; if you take it to get checked up regularly, keep it oiled, and perform your daily maintenance activities, it would run smoothly. If you don't well... it could catch up to you later on.

However, unfortunately, sometimes, the body gets used to the same routine. i.e. standard meals, standard calorie count, and the same exercise routine. So if you have been consistently working out and losing weight for a while, you may realize you have gotten to a point where the scale would no longer move. This is actually more common than you'd realize.

The good news is that you've noted the problem and can work to fix it. It may seem counter-intuitive sometimes (If you're exercising and eating right, it should be all good, no?), but here are a few steps you can take to get your body back into that fat-zapping state.

Switch up your diet: It doesn't matter whether your whole diet consists of protein shakes or veggies; your body gets used to what you put in it. It basically gets into a fuel-and-burn routine where your carbs come from the same food, your protein comes from the same food, and all your other nutrients come from the same food. To give your metabolism a kick, it is important to change your diet. You still want to keep your calories low, but change what foods your nutrients come from. Also, if you work out a lot, you need to make sure you are getting enough carbs to work out, and enough protein to rebuild muscle.

Change your calorie count: The number of calories you need is relative to your body weight, sex, and activity level. Take a look at this article for more details on the math behind your weight loss goals. Now, if you lose weight, that also means your body needs less calories and so you need to reconfigure your diet to fit your new weight. Sometimes though, you may also need to rev up your metabolism by upping your calorie intake just a little for about 2 or 3 days and then adjusting it back to what you need for your weight loss regimen.

Try new exercises: There is a term called muscle memory, where your muscles work similar to your brain. When you establish a habit, your brain automatically remembers to do it without much effort. Your muscles are similar. When you are used to doing an activity, your muscles require less effort to do the same activity. This means you may be using less energy and burning fewer calories. So mix up your routine to keep your calorie burn up.

Break up your exercise routine: After exercise, your body continues to be in fat-burn mode for a while. If you are used to exercising at one point in the day, you may be losing the chance to get your metabolism revved up during other points in the day. If you break up your routine (e.g. half of it in the morning and half in the evening), that could help burn more because your body would be in fat-burn mode during other points of the day as well.

Strength train: Sometimes, when people are trying to lose weight, they may focus just on cardio exercises. This isn't completely wrong because cardio exercises burn fat. However, building lean muscle also helps the body stay in a state where more fat is burned. And so it is important to get your body toned up so it can keep burning calories even during rest.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

Photo credit: Fitbie.msn.com

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